It Goes Both Ways

It took me a while to realize it, but “Saying Yes,” doesn’t mean you always have to wait for someone else to ask the question.  Since being dumped by man, I made a goal to go on at least one date a month for the rest of the year.  Great goal, right?  I know!  Problem is, dating has never come easy to me.  Men don’t just fall into my lap.  Dates are not easy to come by.  I can’t just sit around and wait.  In order to meet my goal, I need to get out there and meet new people.

I’ve talked a lot about “saying yes” over the past year.  I realized that I need to stop waiting for people to invite me to new experiences.  I need to go out and make those new experiences happen.  I should be the one inviting my friends out to try new things.  I keep saying I want to go back to school, take some classes, learn new things.  On Thursday, I received a course catalog from a local community college.  I found a beginner’s photography class for only $69 that fits within my work schedule and I’m going to take it.  I convinced my writing buddy and her husband to go see a band with me.  Okay, maybe I didn’t convince them, but I did invite them and they did go!  Last week I invited a couple of friends to go drinking.  I’m tired of sitting around being lonely and I’m not going to do it anymore.

Saying yes goes both ways.  I’m going to seek out new experiences and I’m going to accept invitations to them.  I’m going to live.

My 12 Commandments to a Happier Self

My boss gave me a $50 Target gift card for my birthday.  So, of course, I immediately went to Target and spent more than $50.  I’ll talk more about my over-shopping impulses in a minute.  On that shopping trip, I bought a book I’d heard about a while ago, “The Happiness Project,” by Gretchen Rubin.  I’ve been thinking (or I should have been thinking) about what I need to do to be a happier person.  I think for the most part, I’m fairly happy, but there’s a lot of things in my life that I’m disappointed in and this causes me to be grumpy, rude, and a buzzkill at times.  The point of The Happiness Project is not to change who you are, but to appreciate who you are and what you have, and this will lead to being happier.

Gretchen divided her happiness project into 11 parts and spent one month focusing on each goal, then the last month evaluating her total progress.  She started out by doing a lot of research on happiness and what philosophers, experts, and pop culture personalities believed about happiness.  She encourages her readers to take on Happiness Projects of their own and that every individual’s happiness project would be different.

As Gretchen developed her plans for each month, she discovered that (in her words) “some overarching principles started to emerge.”  She used these principles to develop her “Twelve Commandments,” or basically the rules she’d let guide her throughout her project.

I probably don’t have the time needed right now to fully develop my own happiness project, but I do want to be happier.  I love the idea and so I want to start small, even if I can’t start big.  I created my own 12 Commandments and I’m hoping they will help me as I go about my daily life to make better decisions- decisions that will lead to a happier self.

(1) Be Rachel.  The first of Gretchen’s commandments was “Be Gretchen,” by which she meant, there’s no point trying to change who you are or what you like, so instead, embrace it!  “You can’t choose what you like, but you can choose what you do.”  I’m going to follow her example, and Be Rachel.  One of my favorite things about myself is the ability to be passionate- about my favorite tv show, amusement parks, orange soda, etc.  The essence of “Being Rachel” is being passionate about really random things, so I plan to continue to explore that.

(2) Ask- Do I Need This?  I cause myself a lot of unhappiness by spending money on things I want, but don’t really need.  I end up broke, struggling to figure out how I’m going to pay rent, or my car payment, or my student loan.  It’s okay to splurge on little things every once and a while, but too often, I take that to the extreme.  I splurge on one thing, then another, then another, until all of my money’s gone and I’m not even using the things I splurged on.  I taped the mantra “Do I need this?” onto my debit card to encourage me to be mindful about every purchase.

(3) Pause.  Breathe.  I have a bad tendency to roll my eyes and to snap at people.  Luckily, I’m not alone in this.  Snapping was one of the faults Gretchen most wanted to control in her happiness project, too.  From now on, when I get annoyed or find myself losing patience, I’m going to think, “Pause.  Breathe.” and hopefully that will save me from doing something I’ll regret later on.

(4) Fake It til you Make It.  Gretchen spends a lot of time talking about the concept that if you act happy, you will be happy. I definitely know first hand that this works.  I often have to wear a fake smile at work, or use a fake cherry voice, but usually, those fake things fade out and I actually feel happy.  Now, whenever I’m having a bad day, I’ll just fake it til I make it.

(5) Move on from mistakes.  This is another huge source of unhappiness in my life.  I hold on to mistakes for weeks, months.  I dwell on them.  I feel guilty, I loathe myself.  And Gretchen points out that in her research she discovered that other people tend to forget your mistakes rather quickly.  So why am I dwelling on them if no one else is?  What’s the point?  Learn, and move on.

(6) Trust my gut.  I recently spent a few weeks texting with a guy who I didn’t really like, but who seemed to really like me.  My gut told me that he wasn’t a person I wanted in my life, and he was constantly pressuring me and making me feel guilty about not wanting to do things he wanted me to do.  I should have stopped the conversation at the first indication that I didn’t want to be talking to him, but I was flattered by his declarations that I was beautiful and sexy and that he couldn’t stop thinking about me.  Now I know, it was also kind of creepy.  I deleted his number from my phone.

(7) Think Friends before Finances.  This may contradict my earlier commandment to think “Do I Need This?” but actually, it really piggybacks off it.  In twenty years, I’ll remember the times I spent with my friends, having fun, experiencing new things, not the fact that I was struggling to pay my bills.  Friends are more important than stuff.  If I have the opportunity to go out to dinner or to the movies or to a concert, I can spend my money on it, guilt free.

(8) Don’t fritter- Do It Now.  “Do It Now”  is another of Gretchen’s commandments.  I am terrible at “doing it now.”  I fritter my time away constantly and then complain that I have no time.  I always feel better (and so does Gretchen) when I do something right away, rather than putting it off.  For example, I’ve started ironing my work uniforms for the week on Sunday nights.  It gives me a few extra minutes in the morning on workdays, which, as I’m not a morning person, is a huge thing.  Another example, I’ve left two loads of clean laundry just sitting in my apartment without putting them away.  Every time I say, “I’m going to fold and hang my clothes,” I find myself playing on pinterest, or watching TV instead.  And the sight of those baskets is a definite source of displeasure in my life.  I need to just put the clothes away already!

(9) Say Yes! Obviously this is something I’ve been trying to do for a while now.  You can look back at past posts on the blog to see my attempts at “saying yes.” It also ties in with “Think Friends before Finances.”

(10) Food will never make me feel better.  I use food as a reward and a source of comfort.  But I never feel rewarded or comforted when I eat something bad for me.  So I should stop that using food as therapy.

(11) Laugh more.  Cry Less.  I want to spend more time enjoying life than lamenting it.  I love to laugh, but I really don’t do it enough.  It’s enough to take pleasure in little things.

(12) Celebrate.  It’s important to celebrate even small victories.  Life putting away the clothes finally!  Or typing a blog post I’ve been putting off for a while.  Or actually losing a pound.  When I take the time to pat myself on the back for something I’ve achieved, it makes me focus less on things I haven’t achieved.  In a strange twist, it also pushes me to do more.  “Celebrate” is the capstone of my 12 commandments because when I accomplish any one of them I should celebrate.  And celebrations don’t have to be big.  They can be as much as doing a little dance, or sharing with a friend that I hit a goal, or taking time to do something that I really enjoy but have been putting off doing because of money (like a massage or a pedicure).

I’m excited to see if these commandments will actually help me lead a happier, more fulfilling life.  I’ll let you know.

Saying “Yes” to New Year’s Eve


Oh heck yeah, New Year’s Eve was awesome.

I went out with some friends to see an amazing local band (they are so outstanding it almost pains me to call them a “local” band, but they are from Raleigh, so technically that is the correct term) and they not only completely rocked, but my friends and I had a great time.  Plus, I got hit on, which always makes things better!

I don’t really have any fun anecdotes or crazy stories to share, I just wanted to mention that I went out.  If you’ve been following the blog over the past couple of years, you’ll know I’m trying really hard to live more and a big part of that is making sure that I have an active social life.  It is so easy for me to sit at home alone, watching tv in my pjs, feeling sorry for myself (for what- well, everything and nothing).  I don’t want to be that person all the time.  I want to have those experiences that you’re supposed to have when you are young, I want to create memories.  The past two New Year’s Eves, I’ve spent alone at home.  I didn’t even pay attention to the clock.  I was embarrassed to go out because I didn’t have anyone to kiss at midnight.  And really, how stupid is that?  I kissed my friends on their cheeks at midnight this year.  And later I gave a guy my number.  Much more productive than staying in.



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Saying “Yes” to Halloween

I continued my Saying Yes to Life campaign last night by spending the Halloween weekend in Charlotte with my sisters and their husbands.  Here’s my costume- it was definitely outside of my comfort zone!

And yes, in case you were wondering, I did have a few people actually pay me for kisses, and I gave some away for free!  I’ve never been the type of girl to go all slutty on Halloween, and I think this was a great compromise!  I had a blast hanging out with my sisters and bros-in-law; I always forget how much I laugh when I’m around them.

So, here’s to kissing strangers and spending time with family, and laughing my ass off.  Saying yes is working 🙂

Saying “Yes” to Life

I’ve made a decision to start saying “yes.”

It’s not that I’ve been a “no” person for most of my life, but I haven’t gone after opportunities, I haven’t taken risks.  So I’ve decided to start saying yes to any opportunity that presents itself.  Writing that down I’m reminded heavily of the movie Yes Man with Jim Carrey, but I promise I didn’t get the idea from that.  I actually decided to do this last week when I went to the movies with my friend, Kate.  We were talking about going to Octoberfest and I said, “I don’t like beer, but yes, I’ll go.  It sounds like fun.”  And I decided then and there that I needed to start saying yes to everything- because everything can be fun, if you have the right attitude about it.

I got a message the other day from someone I never expected to hear from again, asking if I wanted to meet up again.  And yes, I did.  So I said yes.  It might be stupid.  But it could also be great.  If I stay positive, life will be positive.  Life will be worth living if I decide to make it worth living.  So YES!